NEWTON, MA – One the oldest and most prestigious amateur tournaments in the country – the 109th Massachusetts Amateur Championship – is slowly, but surely, sorting out its 2017 winner this week- despite Mother Nature’s constant interference.
The week started with 132 of the best amateur players in the Bay State, competing over a challenging par 70, 6,701-yard Charles River Country Club course featuring lightning-fast greens. The low 32 players advance to match play with the 36-hole championship match scheduled Friday July 14 at 8 a.m.
Day 3 wreaked havoc with the field of 32 because of four separate suspensions of play. The delays totaled two hours and 40 minutes and only one match was completed from the round of 16, with play scheduled to start again Thursday morning.
Qualifying rounds of 70 and 72 placed Billy Walthouse, 22, a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island, as the No. 9 seed, and so far, he’s focused on a mission to win and get his name scrawled on the Arthur G. Lockwood trophy next to golf legends like Francis Ouimet, Ted Bishop, James Driscoll and Frank Vana.
“Tee to green I was really, really good. I didn’t miss many approach shots to greens. Just being on the green and having a chance at birdie was pretty big.”
Walthouse, who plays out of Longmeadow CC and has intentions of turning professional later this year, smoked Brendan Ridge (Harmon Club) 7 & 6. In the round of 16 he handily beat Matthew Organisak (Nashawtuc CC) 4 & 2. He will face off against Cody Booska (Geeenfield CC) in the quarterfinal match. Booska beat medalist Steven DiLisio (Salem CC) 1 up.
“I got lucky with an early tee time in the morning (Wednesday),” said Walthouse. “I got the match in before the first rain delay and waited around and then to just got this one in is pretty big. It’s nice not having to wake up too early tomorrow (Thursday). It is still going to be early, but not as early as it could have been.”
In Walthouses’ first match of the day against Brendan Ridge he needed just 12 holes. “This morning I didn’t make any bogies and had three birdies so that was big,” said the 20017 Hornblower Memorial winner. “Tee to green I was really really good. Didn’t miss many approach shots to the green. Just being on the green and having a chance at birdie was pretty big.
In his first match of the day against Brendan Ridge (Harmon GC), Walthouse needed just 12 holes to advance. Although the fourth match off the tee, it was the first round of 32 match to be completed.
“This morning I didn’t make any bogeys and had three birdies so that was big,” said Walthouse. “Tee to green I was really, really good. I didn’t miss many approach shots to greens. Just being on the green and having a chance at birdie was pretty big.”
Other players advancing to the round of 16 include three-time MGA Player of the Year matt Parziale (Thorney Lea) seeded No. 3 after shooting 70-69. Herbie Aikens (Pinehills) seeded No. 10, David Spitz (South Shore CC) seeded No. 5 and Nick Maccario (Bradford CC) seeded No. 7 and Mark Turner (Bass Rocks CC) seeded No. 6.
For complete online coverage go to MGA website: www.mgalinks.org
Photo Courtesy of MGA